© 2024 KLCC

136 W 8th Ave
Eugene OR 97401

Contact Us

FCC Applications
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Despite Wildfire & Pandemic Challenges McKenzie School District Welcomes Some Students Back

McKenzie School District


The McKenzie School District welcomed Grades 1, 2 and 3 back to the classroom, this week. The district and its students have been challenged by both the pandemic and the Holiday Farm Fire.

Students in Grades 1-3 will attend school four days a week from Monday through Friday. The schools plans on allowing Kindergarten and Grades 4, 5 and 6 to return on March 29.

Superintendent Lane Tomkins said in-person instruction is a hopeful step in allowing the community to move forward. Preparing to reopen meant not only adjusting to COVID-19 guidelines, but also continuing recovery efforts from the fire. Thompkins said they only recently got telecommunications working again.

“That’s a big one, I think a lot of people take for granted being able to place a phone call or look something up on the internet," he said. "We had quite a few trees get burned and ODOT was really great to prioritize us and get campus cleared of about 800 hazard trees.”

Tompkins said he’s not sure how many students from Grades 1, 2 and 3 have returned yet, but he’s pleased with attendance so far. He adds about a third of staff, and a quarter of all students lost homes in the Holiday Farm fire last September.

To help the school and its students, the nonprofit The Hope Project and several businesses including Kendall Auto, The Eugene Emeralds, and Heritage Distilling Company, donated school supplies, hand santizer, and PPE. 

Copyright 2021 KLCC

Melorie Begay is a multimedia journalist for KLCC News. She was the Inaugural KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She has a bachelors in Multimedia Journalism from the University of New Mexico. She previously interned at KUNM public radio in Albuquerque, NM and served as a fellow for the online news publication New Mexico In Depth.